Cheek Week

July 10 – 18, 2021

What is Cheek Week?

Cheek Week was launched in 2020 to help increase the number of ethnically diverse donors on the Be The Match Registry®.

Inspired by Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ One Atlanta initiative, Cheek Week includes a combination of live in-person registry recruitment events and virtual platform engagement. It is held annually in July to coincide and support African American Bone Marrow Awareness Month.

This campaign is a donor registry recruitment effort to strive for equal access of cellular therapy for everyone. 

Our MissionWe save lives through cellular therapy.

Because donation of healthy blood stem cells can be a life-saving cure for patients with sickle cell anemia, blood cancers and other deadly diseases. Over the past 30 years, we’ve facilitated more than 100,000 transplants by recruiting potential blood stem cell donors and matching them to patients in need.

Meet Joshua

Only 13 years old, Joshua already has encountered many challenges in his life. He was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia at birth. He experienced his first pain crisis at 5 months old. At 12 months, he had his spleen removed. At 18 months, he suffered a sickle cell-related stroke that left him partially paralyzed on his left side.  

Over the years, Joshua has fought like a superhero to beat a disease that continues to attack, undergoing monthly blood transfusions to manage his sickle cell symptoms. Through it all, he’s been surrounded by loving family and friends and remains a kid at heart, one who likes to make everyone laugh.

Like many teenagers, Joshua is a huge sports fan. His favorite teams are the Philadelphia Eagles and the Los Angeles Lakers. Joshua thinks Lebron James is pretty cool and enjoys watching him play basketball. Well, we think Joshua is pretty cool too!

Joshua is ready to face his biggest challenge yet: receiving a blood stem cell transplant, which can cure sickle cell. He just needs to find his donor—and that donor could be YOU! WE ARE THE CURE!  

Photo of a young black man with a slight smile

Joshua’s Story

Searching Patient

Slightly-smiling Black woman with white hair wrap

Elise’s Story

Searching Patient

Meet Elise

Elise is so many things to so many people. She’s a baker, a recipe developer, a food writer. She’s the owner of and head baker at WinniE’s Bakery. She’s a chef ambassador for No Kid Hungry, a campaign run by the anti-poverty, anti-hunger organization Share Our Strength. She’s also a daughter, aunt, sister and friend.

On top of all that, Elise is a fighter, battling myelodysplastic syndromes, a disease in which her body makes too few platelets, red blood cells and white blood cells. It can be treated with a blood stem cell transplant, but Elise currently has no matches on the Be The Match Registry®—and she needs to find one quickly. 

Every year, 12,000 patients like Elise are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers or other diseases, such as sickle cell, for which a blood stem cell transplant from an unrelated donor may be their best or only hope for a second chance. You could be the cure that Elise needs! 

Cheek Week Events

July 10-18, 2021

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This Week

Week of Events

You Can Increase the Odds

Patients are most likely to match a donor who shares their ethnic background.

Black and African American patients have a 29% chance of finding a matching, available donor on the Be The Match Registry.  More Black and African American donors are needed to help increase the odds.

Will you join the Be The Match Registry and potentially save a life?

Black or African American



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Support for Sickle Cell Disease

We are dedicated to helping you get the support and information you need to learn about your disease and treatment options, prepare for transplant and thrive after transplant.  

Be The Match Foundation®—Funding the Cure

The Be The Match Foundation raises critical funds to help patients find their donor match, cover uninsured costs related to transplant, and fund groundbreaking research.

$25 raised covers one clinic visit co-pay for a transplant patient. And $100 adds another potential life-saving donor to the Be The Match Registry®—helping us grow and diversify the registry so EVERY patient can find their life-saving match.

Atlanta community members are saying YES to supporting Be The Match® even after joining the registry. You can say YES too. Learn how you can get involved in this life-saving work in your own community.

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Donna, marrow transplant and financial grant recipient

Start Saving Lives

Join the Registry

Want to Help Even More?

Sign Up to Learn How Else to Get Involved